ArenaNet is Hiring a Web Developer

heal-party-thumbnailArenaNet, what are you doing to me?! Stop teasing me with your career opportunities. You know that I’m not going to move to Bellevue, Washington. Why would this be posted – IN THE GAME – on the day before Halloween? I only had enough time for one run of Kilroy’s Punchout Challenge. But after spotting the main headline, I didn’t even have time for that. Upon launching the Guild Wars client, I read the news. ArenaNet is looking for a Web Developer. It was the top new event… not Halloween, not gold sellers, not protecting your account. Finding a talented Web Developer was the most important thing to ArenaNet.

Here’s the official word from ArenaNet…

Web Developer Job Opening – Are you an outstanding web developer with a passion for MMOGs? Why not join our team? Qualified candidates will be passionate, creative team players who produce high quality javaScript code and love agile development. ASP.NET and ASP.NET MVC experience is a huge plus. Check out for more details!

Why yes, I am an outstanding web developer. Although, my experience is more with LAMP – Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP. I’ve played around with .NET and I was impressed. This is a big step for ArenaNet. From what I’ve seen, the previous web related jobs didn’t look like this one. It seems like they’re getting better web tools. They also seem to be getting more serious about their website. I think someone at ArenaNet finally woke up about the importance of integrating the web with the game. Hitting F10 to launch the Wiki is not enough.

Don’t you just love how they throw in acronyms that makes sense to no one, except those that would be qualified for the job?


Here’s the official description in detail…

ArenaNet is looking for a passionate developer to help build the next generation of MMO-to-web services for Guild Wars 2. Take part in growing out V1 projects, producing scalable designs and high quality code. Candidates will work well independently and as part of the team vision.

  • ASP.NET/JavaScript/CSS. ASP.NET MVC experience a huge plus
  • Immersed in Firebug but also comfortable with C#
  • Not just a JavaScript monkey but always striving to write better and more robust code via unit testing, micro-templating and other techniques
  • Ability to work closely with web services programmers and graphic designers
  • Passionate about delivering great user experiences that can land a Crunchies Best Design Award
  • Proficiency with good JavaScript libraries but also knows the intricacies of cross-browser DOM quirks
  • You know Steve Souder’s High Performance Web Sites client-side optimizations by heart and breath Douglas Crockford’s JavaScript Good Parts

Send your resume, website examples and code samples in JavaScript. The code sample should demonstrate a highly interactive page that showcases JavaScript logic written by you and not just effects you get from libraries.

This description seems to have a lot of nonsense. It makes me wonder what they’re thinking. Using Firebug and C# on the same line is bizarre. One’s a Firefox plugin, the other is a programming language. Since they’re doing .NET, mentioning Visual Web Developer might have made more sense. But really… who cares? If you’re a Web Developer that does everything in Notepad++ and crayon covered sketchbooks, who really cares?

While generic, I think the words “3+ years experience  of web development for a high-traffic website” might have made more sense.

What’s with the word monkey? There’s stigma in the industry. If I cut n’ paste some premade code, it somehow makes me less of a developer. Why would I’d get more respect if I spent six months handwriting the code? VBulletin is an excellent example. Sure, I could code my own forum from scratch, or I could drop a could of hundred bucks on a license. The latter takes minutes to complete while the other could take months – even years.

See, ArenaNet, your game is late. Isn’t it better to launch on-time in 2009, instead of going against Star Wars: Old Republic in the years ahead? If ArenaNet had launched GW2 this year, they’d probably own the market. Making your code better is always a noble goal. But hey, JavaScript is client side. Give players an excuse to upgrade their PC – it helps the economy! Don’t believe me? Ask the community if they’d care about a 10% longer load times if Guild Wars 2 was launched today.

The ability to work well with others is important. I have no ill comments about that. But the nonsense continues with the next line. Crunchies Best Design?! WTF?! Who cares? Poll the players and see if they’ve ever heard of that award. My last major web project won three significant awards. That and $2.50 will get me on a NYC subway. Awards are for egos. I don’t buy games or visit websites for the awards it won. I buy games that are fun to play. I visit websites that are useful to me! I’m also concerned that the request might be unrealistic. It is rare to find a good coder that has good design sense… and works well with others!

Cross-browser support is something to be concerned about, but it’s getting better to manage. Just ignore IE 6 and you’re half-way there. :-P

But seriously, I’m surprised that there’s no mention of mobile. If you’re designing a new web project right now, and you’re not thinking about mobile, you’re doing it wrong. Honestly, does Guild Wars really need such a technically impressive website? If I’m at a PC, I’d probably prefer to PLAY the game rather than read about it. But if I only have my mobile phone with me, I’d enjoy passing the time with cool Guild Wars 2 website features. If you really want cross-browser, the Guild Wars 2 website should have mobile (Android / iPhone) features!

The last bullet point is also another obscure reference. I’ve never read this book. It’s one of those, “If you have to ask what it is, then we don’t want to hire you.” While it might seem like a good litmus test to ArenaNet, is it really a good job description? ArenaNet, are you hiring a developer or a code optimizer?

When I really look at the description, I’m a bit worried. When I think ‘web developer’, I think of construction. Those developers build skyscrapers. People from miles around look up in awe. This job description seems more like a racing car mechanic, someone that fine-tunes a machine to run at peak performance. Optimization is great, but it seems like the project has a limited scope. They want the website to run really fast, but what will it do? Speed isn’t everything. Look at World of Warcraft! Two words… Server Queue. I’ve never seen a Server Queue in Guild Wars, but all that optimized code didn’t make Guild Wars the #1 MMORPG.

Think bigger ArenaNet. Hire a real Web Developer! Make a better website! No… make a gaming website that changes the way the industry does business! Hopefully this job description is vague on purpose. Hopefully you have a reason to use AJAX, not just because all the cool sites are doing it. As for the job seekers out there, I respect ArenaNet. I think it would be a cool place to work – if you’re into Web Development, Guild Wars and the West Coast. Hopefully you’re not a monkey. It’s going to take talent for Guild Wars 2 to meet the high expectations.